It’s just a small matter, concerning who should be the Grand Poobah of Pakatan Harapan Plus. But the impasse (or should we say argument) over whether it should be a a septuagenarian or a nonagenarian is now threatening to send the coalition the way of ancient ancestors of men.

In other news, the current PM (and his buddies) has filed an application to strike out a suit by a former PM (and his buddies); a certain Boy Wonder is claiming to be the latest victim of a purported government crackdown on dissent; another person is being investigated for a statement not made by her; and, two Indonesians are on the lose and feared to be spreading Covid-19 among people in Sarawak.

Beginning of the end?

Impending implosion?

The troubles in Pakatan Harapan Plus seem to be getting worse. And it’s all because they can’t seem to agree on who should lead the coalition.
 
After it was revealed that PKR is the only coalition party backing Anwar Ibrahim as PM candidate, one PKR Selangor leader has called for the party to exit the coalition. It’s a distinct possibility, it would seem. Warisan has finally come out to openly support Mahathir, while Amanah has joined DAP in urging PKR to state its stand
 
At least two reports came out yesterday that questioned whether Pakatan can survive the impasse. The first raised concerns that the coalition will go the way of its predecessor, Pakatan Rakyat, which then comprised PKR, DAP and PAS. Another, an analysis, read much the same way, saying the coalition could soon implode
 
PKR is set to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the PM candidate issue. Will they discuss leaving Pakatan as well? That remains to be seen. But party president Anwar doesn’t seem quite so perturbed, all things considered. He set tongues wagging, apparently, when he tweeted a pictures of himself pruning bamboo with the words: “We prune and correct what needs to be corrected so that the atmosphere becomes cleaner and more orderly.” Now was that meant to be cryptic? 
 
One person who is perturbed by it all is Perak PKR chief and Anwar super fanboy Mohd Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak, who asked why Pakatan should take the chance of supporting a man who would likely resign in six months and cause political chaos again. This, of course, was a reference to ol’ Maddey, whose resignation as PM earlier this year eventually led to Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin taking over the reins of the country. 
 
This was the second day in a row Farhash has hit out at Mads. On Wednesday, he had called out DAP and Amanah for not being loyal to Anwar. But Amanah communications chief Khalid Samad was having none of that nonsense yesterday, calling Farhash a coward and saying he was pretending Mahathir is the bigger enemy to Pakatan than Moo’s Perikatan. 

PKR is still insisting that Mahathir isn’t Harapan’s choice of PM and that the old man had in fact nominated himself for the PM-ship. But really, does that matter? The fact is, every Pakatan party, bar PKR, has now thrown its support behind Maddey and PKR has to either put up or shut up.
 
DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke also defended the choice of PM4/7 Mahathir taking over again, saying there are mechanisms in place for our favourite nonagenarian to step down after six months and handing over the administration to Anwar (isn’t that what they said the last time round?).

Loke’s reasoning? That Mahathir would be kept in check by the fact that any of the coalition parties could trigger a collapse of his government simply by backing out of Pakatan. This again is flawed logic, because it assumes that (a) the coalition parties would be willing to do that once they are in power and (b) that Maddey wouldn’t be able to cobble together another coalition with Umno and such if his partners left him.

It’s no wonder, then, that Loke admitted it’s natural for people to have reservations about the plan. 
 
And why not? What is the point for a 95-year-old to take over the country only to resign in six months and hand things over to Anwar? What can Mahathir do in six months? Clearly, Pakatan is not confident of winning without their ancient saviour. And that saviour is clearly not willing to endorse another candidate, which puts us in this mess.

In one corner, we have a man whose so fixated on becoming PM, it’s nauseating. In the other, we have a man whose ego is so bulbous, he would rather see everything burn that let another man have ‘his’ PM-ship. 

And here we are, the rakyat, caught in the middle of this shitstorm of mistrust, backstabbing and pig-headedness. 🤷
 
Anyhoo, here are some other bits of political news from yesterday:

  • PM Moo and three others have filed an application to strike out Maddey and five others’ suit against their dismissal from Bersatu. The court also dismissed the six men’s application for an interim injunction to be declared Bersatu members pending the suit. 
     
  • Former BN chairman Najib Razak has joined the chorus of individuals calling for snap polls, saying this is the only way to clarify Malaysia’s political position. His party, Umno, is obviously confident (too much so, perhaps?) as a supreme council member states unequivocally that the people are satisfied with the new government and this would translate to votes if the general election is called soon. 
     
  • BN has announced a Pekan Umno committee member as its choice of candidate for the Chini by-election. Though Pakatan will not be taking part, and Bersatu has said it will support its Perikatan partner, a Bersatu member has announced that he will contest as an independent candidate, incurring an automatic sacking from the party. Jibby Razak’s son, Nizar Najib, was previously rumoured to be in consideration for the seat candidacy. 
     
  • Negeri Sembilan Bersatu chief and one-time Umno big gun Rais Yatim, who was only recently sworn in as a senator, is set to be the new Dewan Negara president, according to sources. 

Syed Saddiq cries foul

Former Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is claiming to be the latest victim of what has been called a crackdown on dissent against the Perikatan government. 
 
The former Youth and Sports (and everything else) Minister was quizzed by the cops yesterday over an interview he gave to Al Jazeera which had been critical of PM Moo and the Perikatan gomen. According to the Boy Wonder’s lawyer, there was an issue about allegedly seditious claims he had made about the supposed “backdoor government” and royal coup which allowed Muhyiddin to slide into the PM’s seat. The lawyer said, though, that Syed Saddiq had clearly answered it was unfair to blame the Agong for it. 
 
Syed Saddiq later claimed the investigation was the work of the Perikatan gomen. He doesn’t want to speculate, he said, but it must be the work of the government. It’s hard to fault his logic, but we had to chuckle at the part where he said he didn’t want to speculate… and then proceeded to speculate.  
 
Outspoken lawyer Siti Kasim also found herself being questioned by police yesterday, over her FB posting criticising PAS for calling for a temporary ban on alcohol sales to solve the country’s drink driving problem. Siti, however, said the interview with the coppers went well as they asked some pertinent questions over the posting which she claimed had been twisted by certain parties
 
It has to be pointed out that Siti isn’t the only one who has criticised the call by PAS to ban the production and sale of alcohol. Political parties like Parti Besatu Sarawak and MCA have come out against it. And it’s been called an infringement of the cultural rights of the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak. 
 
Even doctors groups say this shouldn’t be the way to solve the drink driving issue. No. It should be focused on educating the public on the dangers of drink driving. And, the Perikatan government itself, of which PAS is a member, seems against the idea, though they didn’t exactly come out to say this. They merely talked about harsher penalties for drink driving being part of the proposed amendments to the Road Transport Act to be tabled in Parliament soon. 
 
Anyway, police apparently seem to understand that the alleged offending statement by Siti may not have actually been hers, considering they say they will soon call up the “owners” of the “Siti Kasim” FB page for questioning. They also said they would summon the owners of the “Hannah Yeoh” FB page. 
 
Yeoh, the DAP MP for Segambut, is also said to be a victim of the purported crackdown, having been investigated for a statement she supposedly made questioning the status of the national road map on child marriages. That statement, apparently, was a manipulation by the owner of an FB page of a tweet she had made in March. Yeoh had later debunked the fake statement, only to find herself being investigated both for the original tweet and the fake statement.

Yeoh is expected to be questioned some time next week over her original tweet. She had earlier said she would cooperate with police and yesterday reiterated her stand that she would also fully cooperate in their investigations into the fake statement. 

Running loose with Covid-19

This is some pretty concerning news, especially for Sarawakians.
 
Health authorities in the Land of the Hornbills are looking for two Indonesians who have tested positive for Covid-19 but are now “missing” and believed to be hiding out at construction sites. The duo, a man and a woman, went for a screening on Tuesday as part of the process to obtain work visas and were diagnosed the following day, but have since disappeared from their living quarters
 
They now pose a danger to all whom they come into contact with, and worse still, could cause a cluster at the worksites they are believed to be hiding out in, so the authorities in Sarawak are rightly concerned. They have lodged police reports and are seeking the public’s help in locating the duo.
 
That was the only bit of disturbing news, really, when it came to Covid-19 yesterday. Recoveries continued to outweigh new cases, which are still low as far as daily numbers are concerned. Yesterday saw 14 new cases, with 127 recoveries. This brings the cumulative number of infections and discharges to 8,529 and 8,000, respectively, for a recovery rate of almost 93.8%. There were also no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 121
 
Of the new cases, three were imported while the remainder were local transmissions. Sadly, two of the local transmissions were staff at the Bukit Jalil Immigration detention centre. So far, more than 13,000 Malaysians and foreigners at Immigration depots have been tested, with 782 testing positive, including seven Malaysians. Of the remainder, 803 results are still pending. 
 
In other Covid-19 news yesterday:

  • Selangor has decided to allow mosques and suraus, as well as non-Muslim places of worship to reopen starting today. 
     
  • The government has received a proposal to open a “travel bubble” with neighbouring countries but has yet to decide whether to implement it. The travel bubble, or travel corridor, is an agreement among countries which have contained the Covid-19 pandemic to allow people to travel between these countries. 
     
  • KL City Hall has shut down and seized goods and facilities from 200 makeshift stalls at the Selayang wholesale market to prevent the spread of Covid-19. These stalls were manned by undocumented foreign workers, apparently. 
     
  • Top Glove, the world’s largest natural rubber glove maker, has denied a foreign report claiming exploitation of workers, saying it has always prioritised their employees’ safety, health and wellbeing, especially during the Covid-19 era. These accusations aren’t new – such claims have bedevilled Top Glove for years.

Extra, extra. Read all about it

In the interests of brevity (it’s Friday, after all!), here are the other new stories from yesterday, in brief:

  • The enigmatic moneychanger at the centre of the graft trial of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was said to have given RM100,000 cash in a bag to his employee to convert into cheques for “lawyer’s fees” at a bank. The court also heard a contractor say that Zahid had paid him RM1.4 million in cash to renovate two bungalows and that no records were kept. 
     
  • A couple have been charged with money laundering involving more than RM600,000 in connection to funds from a charitable foundation founded by PM Muhyiddin. 
     
  • While we’re on the topic of corruption, 18 cops and soldiers have been arrested by police for being in cahoots with human trafficking syndicates. They include a police officer holding the rank of Assistant Superintendent. 
     
  • The Securities Commission has confirmed that there are discrepancies in Permodalan Nasional Bhd CEO Abdul Jalil Rasheed’s academic qualifications and work experience. Naughty, naughty, Jalil! 
     
  • MISC Bhd has announced the resignation of Noh Omar, just two weeks or so after he was appointed chairman. No reason was given, so we’re left wondering why. 
     
  • Media Prima TV Networks managing editor Firdaus Abdullah, widely known as former PM Mahathir’s biggest fan (yes, bigger than Syed Saddiq), will reportedly soon be getting the sack for “unprofessional behaviour” following a vitriol-filled Twitter attack believed to be against PM Office director of communications Ainon Mohd, including calling her a “fat lump of waste” and a “nincompoop”. 
     
  • The Malaysian literary world is mourning the death of Malim Ghozali PK at the age of 71. He was a winner of Southeast Asian Writers Award and was named Perak state laureate in 2014. 

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

- Marilyn Monroe -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The global death toll from Covid-19 is officially nearing 450,000, but BBC claims research shows there are another 130,000 deaths unaccounted for in official stats. 
     
  • The US Supreme Court has ruled that President Donald Trump’s bid to end a Barack Obama-era immigration programme – widely known as the Dreamers programme – protecting children is unlawful
     
  • Meanwhile, Trump has signed a bill pressuring China over its crackdown on Uyghur Muslims. 
     
  • More on el presidente, Facebook Inc has taken down ads by Trump attacking far-left groups for featuring an upside-down triangle similar to the symbol used by Nazis to classify political prisoners in concentration camps. 
     
  • If you think China has a military edge over India, you may want to think again. The answer isn’t as straightforward as that. 
     
  • World War II “Forces’ Sweetheart” Dame Vera Lynn has passed away at the age of 103. She was popular for serenading British forces during the war, her songs “providing the soundtrack” for the Allied war effort. 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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